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Is it possible to use “as” in a metaphor?

Ive seen a lot of places saying anything with "like" or "as" is ALWAYS a simile but are there any exceptions? E.g. 1) I am as sly as a fox - simile 2) I am a bird that flies high in the sky - ...
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Are there any synonymic simile for “like a ship struck in the middle of the sea”?

By the simile "like a ship.... sea" I am endeavouring to convey the helplessness of a boy that is drowning in his own tears but I cannot for the sake of God conceive of any less generic and more ...